Seems like that’s a question all of us have been asking for as long as we can remember.
“Mommy, How long until it’s my birthday?”
“Daddy, How long until it’s Christmas?”
“How long until you let me stay up late?” “How long until you let me stay home by myself?” “How long until you let me drive your car?”
I wish I could say we outgrow that question but truth be told, we never do. In fact, it is a question asked by many God-followers all down through Biblical history.
Moses asks God “How long?” in Psalm 90, Ethan does the same in Psalm 89
Asaph asks the question three times, and David asks the very same question five times!
“How long O Lord?“
In Psalm 6:3 the psalmist writes “My soul is vexed, but Thou Lord, How Long?“
So Moses who wrote Genesis asks but so do the martyred saints of the Great Tribulation
“They cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Rev. 6:10
Deep inside our very soul there is a perpetual desire to have present difficulties pass and dreamed-of comfort or hoped-for futures arrive. There is nothing wrong with the question. It is not a sin to ask it. In fact, go ahead and ask it as often as you wish!
The only question is, what will you do with His answer? What if it isn’t as soon as you were hoping? Worse yet, what if God simply remains silent after you ask it? Remember, He is God and He does have the right to remain silent!
I believe God is sometimes silent about how long because He doesn’t want our faith to be in the counting down of hours and minutes that we yet must endure or by the marking off of days left in our “misery calendar”, like some underwater hold-your-breath-contest!
He wants us to choose to release our fears and rest in Him, without knowing the divine timeline or the precise distance to the goal. The reason you can rest isn’t because of how close you are to the end of your trial but how near you are to a loving Savior!
What if when I ask the Lord “How Long?” God answers me with a few questions of His own?
“How Long does this trial need to go on before you decide to hold onto me rather than your own agenda?”
“How long will you strive to change what you cannot?”
“How long will you deceive yourself into believing that your joy comes from your circumstances rather than my presence which is available right here and right now?”
“How long will you miss the opportunity to be a witness for me by choosing to say what my servant Habukuk finally decided to say?”
“Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, And makes me walk on my high places.” (Hab 3:17-19)
I don’t know about you, but I for one want to stop being so afraid of heights. I want to get my “hinds feet” on so everyone is amazed when they see what God can do with someone who is too comfortable in the spiritual flat-lands.
So, I’ve made up my mind. I’m not staying here. I’m heading up there where the spiritual air is clear and the view is absolutely spectacular. And besides all that, I know I’m going to get there, however long it takes!